The district wants your input on something else besides determining the characteristics you’d like to see in a new principal at Costa Mesa Middle School.

(What happened to the ex-principal? There is nothing on the district website – no fluff about a promotion or retirement or moving on to something else.)

The district is also going through the motions to pretend as though they want your input on the new district boundaries they’re considering. The announcement on the website reads, “As part of the adjustment of trustee area boundaries, the District will conduct two initial public hearings to review trustee area boundaries and receive public input. Upon receiving and considering from the two public hearings, the Board of Education will have two additional public hearings prior to adoption of the seven new trustee area boundaries.”

Whatever.

The real problem is the rationale for spending $100K of your tax dollars on the boundary redrawing in the first place. The district wants you to know that, “Due to the extensive population growth on the east side of the district, the superintendent convened a committee to review trustee areas.”

Eh, not exactly. The district wouldn’t be thinking about new boundaries or voting by area representation had they not been threatened with an expensive lawsuit. So I’m not buying the population shift excuse and I don’t believe a lot of other people are, either.

Why didn’t the district come clean? What harm would it have been to tell the truth and say that in order to stave off a lawsuit that could cost a lot of money, the district is making substantial changes in the way the trustees are elected?

To you and me, that’s the right thing to do. It’s straightforward and it’s honest. Instead, the district defaulted to their usual response, which is that everything is great and we’re actually making these historic changes because we’re nice people who are truly concerned about our district and the way it’s represented.

Apparently, that concern stops at the border of Costa Mesa. If you live in the city and particularly if you have a student attending Costa Mesa Middle School, you’re getting the un-royal treatment on Wednesday. That’s the day when you are invited to offer your thoughts on the characteristics you’d like to see in a new principal but, unfortunately, if you attend that meeting, you’ll have to miss the meeting to offer your input on area representation. According to the district’s website, the area meeting starts at 6:30 at Rea. According to the CM Middle School site, the principal meeting starts at 6. So if you’re a CMMS parent or an interested taxpayer, your only option to attend both meetings is to go to the principal meeting on Wednesday, then fight rush hour traffic to attend the area meeting the next night in CdM. That’s two nights in a row away from your family at the dinner/homework hour.

Why are these meetings held at just about the same time? There are two quick answers:

  1. They just plain ol’ screwed up. It was an honest mistake because two different people or groups were scheduling the meetings and did not bother to coordinate. It happens.
  2. The schedule was set to overlap on purpose.

Those are the only two reasons that come to mind but regardless of why it happened, it should be fixed today. But it won’t, because neither of these meetings will provide the district with any take-aways that will cause them to do anything different from what they already have in mind.

Maybe the real meeting we need is community input on the characteristics we’d like to see in our trustees.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

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